Batten down the hatches, people: Tom Green's on island and he's ready to hang loose.
The comedic powerhouse, who skyrocketed into the limelight in the late 1990s when his ridiculously funny, juvenile pranks earned him a loyal MTV following, will headline the next Maui Celebrity Series concert Friday night at Maui Theatre, sharing fresh stand-up material with a very lucky, intimate island audience.
When I chatted with Tom earlier this week, he was really excited about his first visit to Maui.
Tom Green shares face time with his dog, Steve, online at the “Tom Green Channel” (www.tomgreen.com)
"I want to do everything! I want to hike, see some waterfalls," he said.
In the midst of an extensive, international tour, recently playing to sold- out audiences in Australia and Washington, D.C., he'll take a much-needed break here - bask on the beach, sip a few Mai Tais, maybe even catch a few waves (he tried surfing in Costa Rica a while ago and really liked it) - before heading off to perform in London.
"It's been an amazing tour so far," he said. "I've done a couple hundred shows - just finished five sold-out shows in D.C. - I have a really good rhythm going."
The Maui Celebrity Series presents Tom Green, with special guests Brian Evans, Sunny Dennis and King Martin, at the Maui Theatre in Lahaina, 9:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are available at the Maui Theatre box office or online at www.ticketweb.com. For more information, call 856-7973.
Green began his career back home in Canada, where, as a teenager, he began performing stand-up comedy. As an undergraduate at the University of Ottawa, he segued into rap and created a college radio show that became a huge crossover hit. By the time he was in his mid-20s, he'd landed on Canada's Comedy Network. MTV officials thought his madcap, envelope-pushing antics would be a perfect fit for their "Jackass"-loving demographic. They were right. People couldn't get enough of Tom's in-your-face "man on the street" gags, his shock-and-awe antics (i.e., hurling himself off stuff, or eating the presumably inedible), his manic delivery - which alternated between hysteria and deadpan. The Tom Green show was gross, gut-splitting good.
Then there was the cancer.
In March of 2000, at the height of his MTV success, Green was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Never one to shy away from the uncomfortable and disturbing, he invited audiences to come along as he worked through the disease. His experience was immortalized in the "Tom Green Cancer Special" that aired on MTV later that year and broadcast in-depth, up-close-and-personal footage of the surgical removal of Tom's left testicle. The show, which mixed humor and pathos, garnered praise from both entertainment and medical communities.
"Having cancer was a blessing in a way," Tom reflected. "It makes you ultimately, acutely aware that we are here for a limited time and anything can happen. I realized that, whatever it is, you have to do it now and enjoy it while you're doing it. It inspired me to focus on what I've always wanted."
His then-girlfriend, actress Drew Barrymore, stood by Green as he battled the disease. Their marriage and divorce in 2001 was widely publicized.
Nearly 10 years later, it is a decidedly wiser, more circumspect Tom Green who will perform in Lahaina on Friday night. He celebrated his 39th birthday last week and his comedy - along with his attitude and philosophy - has evolved. It's finely-tuned, wry and way funnier.
Age and circumspection haven't slowed him down too much, however. Green said he's been enjoying the night life, partying with friends and making the most of each stop on his extensive tour.
"Last night at 2 a.m., we ended up getting 10 Big Macs and eating them at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial," Green said. "But you have to pace yourself when you're on the road nonstop. You can't drink all night, every night."
Tired of "pushing past the censors," Green developed his own online channel in 2007. It's been going great guns ever since. The groundbreaking, fiercely independent "Tom Green Channel" (www.tomgreen.com), features a first-rate talk show that the comedian broadcasts out of his house (sometimes his dog, Steve, even runs through the set). Guests have included fellow Gen-X comics Jamie Kennedy and Harland Williams, cult icon Crispin Glover and skater Tony Hawk (Green is an accomplished skater). There's also lots of hilarious brand-new "location" footage from his current "World Stand-up Comedy Tour." He'll be uploading lots of new material during the course of his 10-day visit to Maui, so be sure to log on frequently. (Who knows? You might even see yourself.)
From the "Original Kings of Comedy," the hit series "The Hughleys" and Russell Simmons' "Def Comedy Jam," comedian D.L. Hughley brings his class act to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug.14. Tickets are available from the MACC box office, www.mauiarts.org or 242-7469.
The Comedy Hui returns to the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC for the third installment of its new monthly improv series, Friday, Aug. 20. Dinner service is available at 5:30 p.m., and showtime is 7. Fans of television's "Who's Line is it Anyway?" will enjoy this fast-paced, family-friendly, audience-oriented show. For tickets and information, visit www.mauiarts.org or call 242-7469.